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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



FMguru posted:

For something that is, at heart, a tactical combat simulator, AD&D 1E was amazingly incoherent for how everything fit together in combat.
Those actually make a little sense when you consider D&D's roots in things like Chainmail and Swords and Spells. All Lawful races and monsters speak Lawful so they can communicate and issue orders on the battlefield to each other (same with Chaotic and Neutral). It's a wodge to make sense of something in a minis wargame. Expanding them so that Kobolds and Beholders could discuss specific Lawful Evil points of philosophy with one another but in ways that are totally incomprehensible to Neutral Evil or Lawful Neutral monsters and characters is just loving weird.

There's just so many followup rules that make it even stranger. Since now alignment can be changed, the book says you just forget how to speak Neutral Good and automatically speak Chaotic Good or whatever. My favorite aspect is that a Chaotic Neutral child raised in a Chaotic Good house speaks a weird language his parents don't speak and no one taught him, but intrinsically this language will work if he wants to speak to Slaad.

It would have been perfectly fine if the book had just said "Yeah, this is one of the weird magical effects of the planar cosmology and it's fully acknowledged by the denizens of this world" but instead it looks like it's supposed to make natural sense, especially since Gygax compared it to Latin spoken by dark ages clergy.

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gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

HARP: High Adventure Role Playing

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Spellcasting

The last thing I’ll cover for this game is spells and spellcasting. There are a couple of key guidelines to the system:

Each spell is learned as a skill
It follows that every character can learn how to cast spells, although if Mystical Arts is not a Favored Category for you, then learning spells will be expensive in terms of Development Points
Characters spend Power Points to cast spells, and the amount of PP you have is itself governed by your ranks in the PP Development skill

Each spell has a base cost, such as Arcane Bolt with a PP cost of 2. The character’s rank in a skill must be equal to the total PP cost of the spellcasting that they’re about to attempt, so you need 2 ranks in Arcane Bolt just to be able to cast it.

One other gimmick of HARP’s spellcasting system is that every spell has a bunch of ways that it can be “upscaled” - spend more PP to increase an effect’s duration, or make it deal more damage, or even make your Light spell so bright that it becomes harmful to the Undead. Again with the rule mentioned above, you have to have as many ranks in a spell as its total PP cost. Even if you have 4 ranks in Projected Light, you cannot upscale it to the “bright as a 10 mile beacon” option until you have 19 ranks in it, since that particular option adds +15 PP to the cost.

Armor also comes into play: instead of “arcane spell failure” like some other games, wearing armor simply increases the base cost of all spells. Leather adds 2 PP to every spell you try to cast, Chain Mail adds 6 PP, and if you want to cast Projected Light with the beacon option while wearing Plate Armor, you need a whopping 29 ranks in it because Plate adds 10 PP to the base cost.

Finally, while all characters can learn how to cast spells, not all characters can cast all spells. Spells are segregated into three groups: a Universal sphere that everyone can draw from, a Cleric sphere that only Clerics can use, and a Mage sphere that only Mages can use.

Universal spells run the gamut, from a basic Arcane Bolt damaging spell, to defensive boosts, buffs to all 8 stats, a counterspell, detect magic, detect traps, featherfall, light, Mage Seal aka Arcane Lock, lesser healing, and Unlocking Ways aka Knock.

Clerics spells represent both classic Clerics and bad Clerics as well as Druids, so they have a mix of positive buffs, healing spells, curatives, necromantic manipulation, and resurrection, while also having animal summoning, plant manipulation, and nature-themed buffs. They have a very generic attack spell: Harm

Mage spells cover all sorts of elemental effects and classic D&D-esque spells: summoning a wall of air or fire or ice, creating a globe of darkness, polymorphing a target, stone-to-mud, flight, invisibility, mage armor, teleportation, sleep, Rune Mastery aka Arcane Mark, and even a couple of illusion-based spells. A fairly cool difference is that instead of a Firebolt and a Fireball, they have Elemental Bolt and Elemental Ball, and whether it’s composed of Fire, Water, Earth or Air is a separate spell/skill to be learned.






And that's pretty much it for my read-through. I think the best thing that could be said about it is that it helped wrap about the basic mechanics of RoleMaster, so that when I went back to reading that I could understand what it was trying to say.

Taking a page from System Mastery, I did attempt to create a character for the system, and this is what I ended up with:






One thing I will say though is that the addition of all these "roleplaying/social/non-combat" skills really inflated the skill list by a lot. There's about 50 skills in there, compared to about half for later versions of RoleMaster, but that's because RM focuses mainly on combat skills or skills related to dungeoneering.

And while I was considering doing a read-through of RM next, apparently someone already did that before. So instead, as bonus content, I dug through the conversion rules from older versions of Arms Law and ran some simple sample combats:

quote:

A level 1 Fighter against the Monster Manual's zombie:

The Fighter

* 22 concussion hits. The conversion is 10 base hits + 3 hits per 1 D&D hit point
* 45 Offensive Bonus. The conversion is 5 OB per character level + 20 OB for being a Fighter + 20 OB from Weapon Proficiency (the Fighter only has 13 STR so no bonus from that)
* Weapon Type: Broadsword (or in D&D, a Bastard Sword being wielded one-handed)
* 65 Defensive Bonus. The conversion is 10 DB from a -2 AC DEX bonus + 35 DB from a -7 AC Splint Mail + 20 DB from a small shield
* Armor Type 13, described in Arms Law as "A chain mail shirt covering the torso to midthigh and half of the upper arms."

The zombie

* 40 concussion hits. The conversion is 10 base hits + 15 hits per 1 D&D hit dice
* 26 Offensive Bonus. The conversion is 10 base OB + 8 OB per 1 D&D hit dice
* Weapon Type: Bite (because zombies bite, right?)
* 20 Defensive Bonus. The conversion is a straight table that tells you the target DB and Armor Type for every equivalent D&D AC number
* Armor Type 3, from the same table

The way the game works is that you roll 1d100, add your OB, and then subtract the target's DB. You then go to the look-up table for your weapon type (and there is a table for **every** possible weapon) and cross-reference the result. It's like rolling for your to-hit and your damage at the same time, since whatever "leftover" to-hit you have after subtracting the target's DB determines how high you check in the look-up table, and higher results correspond to more damage.

Generally, a final result of 100 or more will let you deal critical strikes, which is on yet another table and can cause effects like making the target bleed out, or be stunned, or suffer a straight penalty to all their rolls, or even kill them instantly.

If you roll a natural 96-100, you add the result to a running total and roll again. And again if the result is again a 96-100 (basically a percentile roll that "explodes" 5% of the time). At the same time, if you roll a natural 1-5 (or to be a nitpick, the precise range depends on the weapon), then you fumble and roll on a fumble table to find out how badly you screwed up.

So with the two combatants statted up, I played out a combat between the two of them:

Round 1.

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+45-20, and gets a result of 87. The attack has a result of 8, so the zombie takes 8 hits, reducing it to 32

The zombie attacks, rolling 1d100+26-65 and gets a natural roll of 98, so the attack is rolled again. The final result is 85. The attack has a result of 9AT, so The Fighter loses 9 hits to bring him down to 13. Rolling on the Animal Critical Strike Table for an "A" type crit, the roll is a 74: "Lower leg strike. If foe has leg armor, +1 hit. If not, foe takes 4 hits and +2 hits per round". The Fighter's AT13 armor is a Chain Shirt as a close approximation of AD&D's Splint Mail, so let's say he does not have leg armor and takes the worse result. He takes another 4 hits to bring him down to 9 and then will take another 2 hits per round.

Round 2. The Fighter is down to 7 hits.

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+45-20, and gets a natural 3. Rolling on the Fumble table for a one-handed weapon, the roll is a 34: "You slip with grace and lose the opportunity to get in the vital blow." No further action taken this turn.

The zombie attacks, rolling 1d100+26-65, and gets a result of -32. The attack has no effect.

Round 3. The Fighter is down to 5 hits.

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+45-20, and gets a result of 100. The attack has a result of 11BP, so the zombie loses 11 hits, reducing it to 21. Rolling on the Puncture Critical Strike Table for a "B" type crit, the roll is a 96: "Strike through foe's cheek. Foe drops and dies after 9 rounds of incapacity. Add +20 to your next attack."

The zombie is down and takes no action.

Round 4. The Fighter is down to 3 hits.

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+45-20+30+20 (+30 from attacking a downed for, +20 from the previous attack's special effect), and gets a result of 87. The attack has a result of 8, so the zombie takes another 8 hits, reducing it to 13.

The zombie is down and takes no action.

Round 5. The Fighter is down to 1 hit.

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+45-20+30, and gets a result of 69. The attack has no effect.

By round 6, The Fighter would have fallen unconscious and would eventually bleed to death without any help (death comes at negative maximum hits), although the zombie itself would have died first.

Technically the fight was over by round 3 since the Fighter could have stepped away and bandaged themselves since the zombie was down and would expire in 9 rounds guaranteed anyway.

And then, since there were conversion rules for the d20 system, I wondered how it would stand up to converting 5th Edition:

quote:

Human Fighter 1: DB 30, AT 13, Hits 34, OB 38, Broadsword
Kobold: DB 12, AT 3, Hits 20, OB 32, Dagger

Round 1

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 61. The attack has no effect.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100+32-30, and gets a 26. The attack has no effect.

Round 2

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 72. The attack has no effect.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100+32-30, and gets a 86. The Fighter takes 2 hits and is down to 32

Round 3

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 45. The attack has no effect.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100+32-30, and gets a 7. The attack has no effect.

Round 4

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 38. The attack has no effect.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100+32-30, and gets an 88. The Fighter takes 2 hits and is down to 30

Round 5

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 50. The attack has no effect.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100+32-30, and gets a 90. The Fighter takes 2 hits and is down to 28

Round 6

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12, and gets a 113. That's a result of 15B. The Kobold takes 15 hits and is down to 5. The Fighter rolls on the Slash Critical Strike Table for a "B" type crit, and gets a 23. The Kobold takes a nasty blow under its ribcage. It loses another 2 hits and is down to 3. It is forced to parry for 1 round and takes a -20 penalty to all rolls.

The Kobold attacks, rolling 1d100-30-20 (parrying transferred all of the OB to DB) and gets a -46. The attack has no effect.

Round 7

The Fighter attacks, rolling 1d100+38-12 (DB 12 was zeroed out due to penalty. OB 32 was reduced to 12 due to penalty, then used for parrying), and gets a 114. That's a result of 15B. The Kobold takes 15 and is knocked out at -12. The Fighter rolls on the Slash Critical Strike Table for a "B" type crit, and gets a 28. Another blow under the ribcage. It loses another 2 hits and is down to -14. It takes a further -20 penalty to all rolls.

The Kobold is unconscious and is finished off by the Fighter at his leisure.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





You could probably justify alignment languages in some sense as common philosophies. Like when you see libertarians screaming at each other incomprehensibly over some trivial point of doctrine. That's alignment language!

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

There's just so many followup rules that make it even stranger. Since now alignment can be changed, the book says you just forget how to speak Neutral Good and automatically speak Chaotic Good or whatever. My favorite aspect is that a Chaotic Neutral child raised in a Chaotic Good house speaks a weird language his parents don't speak and no one taught him, but intrinsically this language will work if he wants to speak to Slaad.

It would have been perfectly fine if the book had just said "Yeah, this is one of the weird magical effects of the planar cosmology and it's fully acknowledged by the denizens of this world" but instead it looks like it's supposed to make natural sense, especially since Gygax compared it to Latin spoken by dark ages clergy.
What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?

e: Seriously, that farmer with the INT of 6 standing in a field has such deep thoughts about The Balance Of Things that he speaks an entire language dedicated to the sublime distinctions of True Neutrality, as if he was conducting a seminar on Niebuhr at Harvard.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 05:03 on Aug 19, 2015

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


FMguru posted:

e: Seriously, that farmer with the INT of 6 standing in a field has such deep thoughts about The Balance Of Things that he speaks an entire language dedicated to the sublime distinctions of True Neutrality, as if he was conducting a seminar on Niebuhr at Harvard.

Actually this owns and would be a great setting detail if, as was said above, it was acknowledged as a weird and cool thing.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



FMguru posted:

What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?

Some men are born true neutral, others achieve true neutral, and others have true neutralness offered to them as neither the superior nor inferior option of many

Somewhere the teenage child of some lawful good parents utters "...whatever" and they can never speak to one another again.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Seriously I want to write a D&D setting where the Alignments really are straight up weird things that gently caress up peoples' entire worldviews when they shift and cut off common communication while allowing people of the same alignment to talk no matter how different a background they're from.

PCs could be people who can speak multiple Alignment tongues and thus mediate between crazed philosophy street gangs.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

I'm picturing something like China Mieville's The City and the City where shifting your alignment changes your physical perception of the world around you.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I really need to read China Mieville.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

I really need to read China Mieville.

You need to read the first quarter of China Mieville's books, where he has interesting ideas and setups, and then just imagine the remaining 3/4ths, where he does uninteresting things with them.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





pkfan2004 posted:


Some sample characters are in the book, but if anyone's interested in throwing me a character concept, I can whip up something before moving on to the deeper rules for Psionic Talents and the powers themselves.

Since I'd bet money Akira's an influence on this thing, can you try to make Chiyoko?

Most games about teen angst could use more middle aged women with miniguns.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Night10194 posted:

I really need to read China Mieville.
China Mieville has written some exceptionally weird stuff, so here's the teaser blurb for one of two novels he's expected to release next year:

quote:

THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.
There's a long-running thread about his works here, but yeah most of his stuff is pretty amazing. (King Rat was his first novel and is thus rather meh.)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


chiasaur11 posted:

Most games about teen angst could use more middle aged women with miniguns.

I had this show up in an Adeptus Evangelion campaign I ran and it was wonderful.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

quote:

One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.

Cross this over with Dreamhounds of Paris and you've got the makings of French surrealists summoning Cthulhu to fight the Nazis instead of the overdone SS dudes under Himmler up to Mythos shenanigans at the bottom of a Gothic castle.

It'd be like the ultimate tale of the golem.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





gradenko_2000 posted:

Cross this over with Dreamhounds of Paris and you've got the makings of French surrealists summoning Cthulhu to fight the Nazis instead of the overdone SS dudes under Himmler up to Mythos shenanigans at the bottom of a Gothic castle.

It'd be like the ultimate tale of the golem.
I was in a con game like this, but we were all in a labor camp. In the end we summoned Azathoth. He ate the planet - but he did eat Germany first!

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




gradenko_2000 posted:

One thing I will say though is that the addition of all these "roleplaying/social/non-combat" skills really inflated the skill list by a lot. There's about 50 skills in there, compared to about half for later versions of RoleMaster, but that's because RM focuses mainly on combat skills or skills related to dungeoneering.




quote:

And while I was considering doing a read-through of RM next, apparently someone already did that before. So instead, as bonus content, I dug through the conversion rules from older versions of Arms Law and ran some simple sample combats:

I thought that one was unfinished and maybe abandoned?

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy




I'll grant you that this is RoleMaster Express, but still

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




gradenko_2000 posted:

I'll grant you that this is RoleMaster Express, but still

Yeah. I just like ing the excesses of Rolemaster. The image I posted was the "slimmed down" skill list from RMFRP. If you got Character Law it added back in all the RMSS stuff they pulled out, plus I think some skills that originally only appeared in supplements like Arcane Companion.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Hmm. All American patriot and a middle-aged lady with a minigun? I think I could do that. Let's do the second first.



Viktoriya Gusev: Ex-Red Orchestra Killing Machine
The West has The Institute. But Russia has the Red Orchestra, the remnants of a secret division of the Soviet government that had as much power as the Institute before the Berlin Wall fell. The KGB and GRU had no patience for waiting for Espers to be born, so most of their soldiers were children and teenagers of families sent to gulags who were given experimental injections.
Viktoriya remembers the Cold War and doesn't miss it. She complied with their orders, fought in Afghanistan, killed Chinese spies by tearing them apart with her mind. And once the Cold War was over and her organization stumbled to find its footing in the new order, she killed her handler and ran.
Time doesn't need to be kind to Viktoriya. Her powers are keeping her fit and healthy thanks to having the ability of somakinesis. She looks 35, has the musculature of a 25 year old athelete, but is pushing 55. But her particular set of skills are on the dangerously obvious side and she has no interest in marching into war again. She would rather live a low key existence with her grandchildren in Kiev. She'll train people who want to fight back, but it would take a drat good reason for her to fight again.

Viktoriya Gusev:
Strength: 7 (9, +2 from Somakinesis)
Speed: 4 (6, +2 from Somakinesis)
Wits: 7
Will: 8
Health: 54 (knocked out at 1, dead at -9)
Initiative: 12+2d6
Defense: 9
Power Points: 48
Overflow Gauge: 40
Skills: Heavy Weapons Master (+4), Demolitions Expert (+2), Brawling Expert (+2), Electronics Apprentice (+1), Leadership Apprentice (+1), Intimidation Apprentice (+1), Pistols Apprentice (+1).
Basic Training: Negotiation, Locksmith, Brawling, Pilot, Security, First Aid, Chemistry.
Techniques: Dodge.
Attacks:
RPD +4 (3d6+3)
RPG-7 +4 (10d6)
Walther PPK +1 (1d6+3)
Hand-to-hand: 1d6+9 Nonlethal

Psionic Talents: Telekinesis 3 (Somakinesis 2)
Inventory: RPD,RPG-7, Walther PPK, 300 rounds of 7.62x39mm, 50 .32 ACP, 3 spare clips, 3 spare drums, 1 85mm HE Rocket Propelled Grenade, Type 1 Body Armor (Melee Damage Cut:2, Ranged Damage Cut: 6), 3 ampules Red Panic amphetamines, 5 bottles of rotgut vodka, cell phone, casual clothes, pictures of grandchildren, $24 because god drat this poo poo gets expensive.


Brianna Birch: Institute Tracker
Brianna used to run with a bad crowd in San Francisco, tagging buildings and breaking windows, occasionally robbing cars. She always hoped there would be more to life than havoc and fun, but a bad home life and a long list of juvenile crimes and bad grades kept picking at her chances to do anything worthwhile. This changed when a briefcase containing a bunch of unmarked needles ended up in the hands of her crew and she woke up the next day alive while everyone else was dead.
The Institute came knocking for their missing drugs and walked away with an Esper willing to cut a deal to make up for the theft. There was mandatory processing, but she played ball when they promised her a shot at college and higher education at a good school. Soon Agent Birch began to put her powers towards finding and monitoring rogue Espers the Institute wanted to bring in alive.
It's a hard job. There's a lot of kidnapping, a lot of midnight raids, a lot of running, a lot of nights spent wondering if she can look herself in the mirror the next morning. But, hell, everyone's gotta do what they gotta for themselves, right? Rich kids fake it until they make it, poor kids drive it like they stole it. Brianna is just looking out for herself, but it's a lot of weight to put on a 19 year old girl.

Brianna Birch:
Strength: 5
Speed: 6
Wits: 8
Will: 7
Health: 30 (knocked out at 5, dead at -5)
Initiative: 12+2d6
Defense: 9
Power Points: 42
Overflow Gauge: 35
Skills: Pistols Expert (+2) Rifles Expert (+2), Drive Expert (+2), Security Expert (+2), Stealth Expert (+2), Negotiation Apprentice (+1).
Basic Training: Electronics, Hacking, Climbing, Spanish, French, Pilot, Locksmith, Awareness.
Techniques: Blitzkrieg.
Attacks:
Tranq Rifle +2 (1 damage)
Tranq Pistol +2 (1 damage)
Psionic Talents: Psychokinesis 5, Telekinesis 1
Inventory: Tranq pistol, tranq rifle, unmarked black federal sedan, false licenses, 100 tranq rounds, Type 1 Body Armor, 17 caffeine pills, zipties, handcuffs, 6 vials of sodium pentathol, interrogation kit, black-ops cell phone, federal badge, snazzy and fashionable black suits, sunglasses, $1065 in cash.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

BECMI described alignment language as having gestural and body-language components, which always made me think of alignment affiliation as having a conspiratorial angle.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



occamsnailfile posted:

The Bushi Federation Oh, this is going to be good I’m sure. So this is a group of five planets populated by the oni race, a species of tall red-skinned humanoids. Amazingly their culture is based upon medieval Japan. Each of the planets is ruled by a daimyo subject to the shogun with a religious figurehead emperor. Their armies are made up of “cybernetically enhanced “cyberai” and they have a rigid caste system. In order to join the CCW they had to change some of their laws like the right of the warrior class to behead disrespectful commoners. You know, like real world samurai totally did all the time.

Being a provincial gang of warlords, they have managed to chump the rest of the galaxy in cybernetics and a bunch of daimyo have managed to become heads of zaibatsu because that is how Japanese history worked, there was no interstitial period between samurai-->industrialists. They manufacture the katana-class fighters for the CAF fleets. No mention is made of the status of women or the lingering threat of capitalism upon warrior caste societies or anything like that.

It could be worse. They could be ninjas, with special martial arts rules that no-one else gets access too.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Posts about Blue Rose in grognards.txt can mean only one thing...the magic deer rides again.

This is going to be a shorter update because chapter 3 of Blue Rose is given over solely to skills and the use thereof, beginning and ending with the ins and outs of how they work. And how they work is about how you expect them to, 3E D&D is close to 15 years old by this point and everyone here is by now doubtlessly familiar with how rolling a d20, adding a modifier, and comparing it to a Difficulty Class works. That is, of course, the entire point behind the vast swathe of d20-derived RPGs including Blue Rose and the True20 system, the familiarity which ensures that no matter which game or genre your GM decides to try that you'll always know exactly how things work (unless the designers changed things up in some way that manages to break the system even more than it already is).

I don't have much else to say on the subject and so I turn things over once again to gradenko_2000 to delight and astonish you with another succinct summary of Blue Rose's mechanics



Deer Lore DC 15

Skill checks are made by rolling d20 + skill ranks + ability score, and then any other circumstantial modifiers, to pass a DC set by the Narrator. As I mentioned earlier, interpreting what "ability score" means in the equation is easier because it only ever means one thing, as opposed to "do I add the 18 or the +4?" that a newbie might ask in D&D.

Blue Rose however has a much more simplified way of approaching skill ranks. Whereas in 3rd Edition you had a complex system of earning skill points that you had to allocate into various skills, and some skills cost more or less points than others, Blue Rose takes a less fiddly approach:

1. Your skill rank is equal to your level.
2. If your class Favors the skill, add another 3 to the skill rank.
3. If your class does not Favor the skill, cut the skill rank in half.


So let's take a Human Aldin in the Warrior role:
1. They Favor Diplomacy, Knowledge-Nobility and Language for being a Human Aldin
2. They also Favor Craft for being a Warrior
3. They can pick 6 other skills that they Favor

With 25 different skills in Blue Rose (not counting Language and Knowledge with sub-specializations), the Warrior would Favor 10 of them.

The other half of the skill system though, is whether you Know a skill:

1. If you Know a skill, you can apply your ranks to it, so [level + 3] ranks if you both Know and Favor a skill, and then [(level+3) / 2] ranks if you Know a skill but do not Favor it
2. If you do not Know a skill, and the skill cannot be used Untrained, such as Acrobatics, then you cannot attempt that kind of skill check at all
3. If you do not Know a skill, and the skill can be used Untrained, such as Bluff, then you can attempt that skill check, but only with [d20 + ability score], with no ranks applied


Our Warrior can Know a number of skills equal to [2 + Intelligence]. If we assume that a Warrior would have an Intelligence of 0, so that gives us 2 Known skills.

This is where a sort of disconnect happens. Even if we set aside the free Favored skills granted by the Background selection, the Warrior is going to have three times as many Favored skill selections as they do Known skill selections, but if the hero doesn't Know a skill, then the Favored status does not matter because skill ranks cannot be applied.

And bear in mind that even though Blue Rose ditches ability scores in favor of ability MODIFIERS directly that it's still quite plausible for your Warrior types to leave Intelligence as a tertiary concern since, y'know, Strength and Constitution, maybe Dexterity, and so it's just as likely that, per usual, the fighter is going to wind up with few effective avenues to contribute to non-combat related challenges. Maybe that's why Warriors receive less of a Reputation bonus than the other two roles for no loving discernible reason.

This happens even with the other roles: the Expert can Favor up to 12 skills, but Knows only 6 + Intelligence. The Adept can Favor up to 4 skills, but Knows only 2 + Intelligence. Maybe the Adept will be able to Know all of their Favored skills if the Adept has high Intelligence as a spellcasting/arcana class, but essentially there's very little reason to draw a distinction between the Favored state and the Known state.

Since you'll usually have more Favored skills than Known skills, and since Favored skills are useless without being Known, and since you can allocate your Favored skills freely, then your skills are only going to have 2 states: you Know it and you Favor it with level+3 ranks, or you do not Know it with no ranks.

I think what happened is that the D&D 3rd Edition Fighter, Rogue and Wizard/Cleric all have specific Favored Skills (or what that game calls Class Skills), such as Climb, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, Swim and Craft for the Fighter. The generic Warrior class from Unearthed Arcana just lets you pick any six skills as class skills. When Blue Rose ported over the Warrior class into the Warrior role, they let the selection of Favored Skills similarly be unrestricted, but because it's unrestricted, it created this situation where the the player will always match their Favored Skills to their Known skills, as opposed to playing a Fighter where you might conceivably be in a position where you Know Diplomacy, but you don't Favor it, since your Favored skills are locked in.

This isn't really a "bad" thing per se, but I thought the implications were worth going through.

These are the 25 skills that are in Blue Rose. They're super standard d20, apart from where they cut down on some of them:

Acrobatics
Bluff
Climb
Concentration
Craft
Diplomacy
Disable Device
Disguise
Escape Artist
Gather Information
Handle Animal
Heal
Intimidate
Jump
Knowledge
Language
Notice
Perform
Ride
Search
Sense Motive
Sleight of Hand
Sneak
Survival
Swim

And these are the ones that were left out, merged or otherwise modified from 3rd Edition D&D:

Appraise
Balance
Decipher Script
Forgery
Hide
Knowledge (3rd Edition lists 10 different categories, Blue Rose lists 8)
Listen
Move Silently
Open Lock
Profession
Spellcraft
Spot
Tumble
Use Magic Device
Use Rope

And that brings us to the end of Chapter 3. The next chapter is the raison d'etre for this partnership with Kai Tave: FEATS!!!

Wait, hold on, that's it? Gradenko's not going over the skills and their uses in exacting detail? Well no, he isn't because frankly you all know how this poo poo works. If you're a regular visitor of the Something Awful Traditional Games forum and don't know how a Gather Information or Jump skill check works in the d20 system then happy 15th birthday, you probably shouldn't be visiting a website where people occasionally post pictures of a man's distended anus.

For real though, there's nothing new here that you haven't already seen before, Blue Rose doesn't add any new quirks or fun twists to the bog-standard pass/fail array of d20 system skill checks. The fact that the skill list is pared down and managed to do away with perennial favorites like Use Rope and Decipher Script is nice, but honestly not that impressive to those of us living in the blasted futuristic hellscape of 2015, and it honestly doesn't go far enough for my tastes...you have Notice and Search as separate skills, not to mention Acrobatics, Climb, Jump, AND Swim as four entirely separate skills you have to purchase on their own, it's madness.

There IS some fiction though so it's not a total wash. Reyna is infiltrating a sorcerer's tower which seems like a fantastically terrible idea, but it turns out she's a member of the Sovereign's Finest so this is what she does for a living. She's been training and honing her mind and her body for this moment, an incredibly dangerous task for which the price for failure is a fate worse than death so, y'know, no pressure or anything. She's outfitted in fantasy spec-ops style with blackened knives and soot to darken her skin, a grappling hook, and something called a ward-stone. It's an artifact of the Old Kingdom and Reyna isn't fond of it because it requires being bathed in a cup of blood every full moon (the consequences for failing to do this are unspecified), but it allows her to slip right through the sorcerous wards of the tower without detection.

She's crawled through sewage tunnels and servant's quarters and even climbed up a chimney leading into the sorcerer's innermost sanctum and now she's reached her goal, a small silver and ebony chest atop a black granite pillar. But she's hesitating because her keen ears have noticed something, a faint scraping sound where there shouldn't be any, and while nothing LOOKS amiss her ears and her instincts are rarely wrong. The pillar should be impossibly heavy and even the tiny chest is supposed to be filled with some incredibly dense evil matter of some sort but she's positive that the pillar is shifting somehow. Reyna's momma didn't raise no fool and she recognizes a trap when she hears one, no matter what her eyes might tell her, and she slips back into the chimney and prepares to descend back down without taking the bait.

And that's really, truly it for chapter 3.


Next Time: uggggghhhhhhhhhhhh

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


For Psionics, Carrie White but her dad is Walter White.
It looks like a fun game. Stephen King originally had The Company in all his books, and in his much later one had a whole interdimensional group hunting psychics.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

If we consider that a human can rise through the ranks of and achieve double-digit levels within 20 or even 40 years and apply the same to the other races, then the logical conclusion is that every demihuman that doesn't die in the attempt should be able to reach the same in fraction of their lifespans, which means the world might well be dominated by hundreds of level 20+ Elves.

It's essentially an artifact of 70s/80s-style game design where you had to think about the "milieu". Only 1% of something of all rolled-up characters are ever going to be good enough to be a Paladin, but that's okay, because in the in-game world, that's how rare they should have been.

Or to hearken back to HarnWorld or Stormbringer where you roll a d100 for your race/profession or whatever and it's going to make you a shitfarming human 90% of the time because that's how that particular world works as.

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


gradenko_2000 posted:

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

...

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.

And honestly, for most cases it's a non-issue because how often are people gonna hit the high teens of character levels where it's genuinely gonna matter that the elf can't be a level 20 mage?

Plus, I don't know about every game with racial level limits, but I know that 2nd ed AD&D came with optional rules for lightening or removing the limits.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012




quote:

"THE PIT, THE PIT!"
They threw the stranger into the pit. He had appeared from the sky with strange lights and sounds. He was clearly another Daemon, appear to plague them from the
warp, or a dark sorcerer in their service. He had already been injured when they found him, and hadn't put up much of a fight, though he was clearly a surly and spiteful type.
The pit was the only place for him, a dry well that had been warded by the priests to contain daemons such as him. The horrors trapped there would make short work of
him. The stranger had argued, tried to convince them not to throw him in the pit, but the arguments had fallen on deaf ears and they had pushed him into the pit at swordpoint.
From above, the villagers watched as the daemon in the pit appeared. It had killed countless men in seconds. The stranger, though, proved to be made of stronger stuff,
pushing back the daemon with surprising strength.
"Give him the spikes," ordered the town magistrate. An ancient mechanism slowly came into motion, the spiked sides of the pit slowly grinding closed like huge jaws. The
stranger cursed, an oath terrible enough to make the women watching blush.
Against the magistrate's orders, the King's sage appeared, carrying the strange sword the stranger had been wearing when they captured him. He threw the sword down
into the pit. The stranger caught it before it hit the mud that lined the pit's floor, and with the press of a switch, the chainsword roared to life. The stranger let loose a battle
cry and decapitated the daemon with one swing. Foul black blood flew into the air.
The stranger used the moments of peace he bought himself to climb above the pit's closing walls, and then above the lip of the pit itself. Battered and bloody, he walked
up to the town magistrate, looked him in the eye, then looked down at his feet. The magistrate's gaze followed his, and in that moment of distraction he slugged him in the face,
knocking the man over.
"All right, who wants some?" The stranger asked, looking at the silenced crowd that had just been baying for his blood. "Who's next? Huh? How about it? Who wants
some?!" The men shied away from him. He sneered at them and pushed them away, then turned to the other prisoners who had been due to be executed.
"Get on those horses and get out of here," he said. He looked at the men holding them. "Let them go!" They released the prisoners.
"Halt!" the magistrate yelled, getting to his feet. He drew his sword, just a plain steel blade. The prisoners got on the loose horses and rode off laughing. The magistrate
brandished his sword at the stranger. "For that arrogance, I shall see you dead." There was a crack-roar like some strange thunder. The magistrate's sword exploded
in his hands, shattering into metal fragments. The stranger raised the aim on the weapon he was suddenly holding.
"Yeah. Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this?" He raised his weapon into the air. "This... is my BOOM STICK! It's a .75 gauge standard pattern
bolter, top of the line. This sweet baby was made in the forge city of Gunsmoke on Bytopia-1. Retails for about 500 Thrones. It's got a plasteel stock, engravings and a hair
trigger. Ya got that?! Now I swear, the next one of you primates even touches me-"
The stranger turned and fired his bolter twice in quick succession, blasting the daemon crawling unnoticed out of the pit. The shots tore its body apart, knocking it
screaming back into the pit. The stranger blew smoke away from the barrel of the weapon, then lowered it.
"Now, let's talk about how I get back to my ship."
Guess the reference. Answer: Army of Darkness

Part 9: The Book Chapter of 9 Sword Schools
Apologies for the delay. I tried to think of various methods in making this rather dry section more interesting and failed. Still, we're getting through this book.

The Sublime Way. The Nine Disciplines. Blade Magic. They all say something different, but they all refer to the same thing. They are the near superhuman fighting abilities that are the hallmark of heroic combat. These uncanny abilities arise from intense training, self-discipline and adherence to certain martial philosophies. Although they are all mundane in nature, their effects can rival spells in power. Those who study any of these schools are called Martial Adepts and is more than just learning how to hit gooder or be better a fightan man.

While Magic Schools took the elements of D&D magic and threw the system out of the window for something 100% simpler, though a little more limiting, Dungeons: the Dragoning also did something different for Sword Schools. Each school is named and themed after each of the Nine Swords from the Book of Nine Swords(also known as the book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic). Each school is structured, however, like Swordsman Schools from 7th Sea with five levels rather than three. A character's Martial Adept level is based on their highest Sword School level unlike Magical School which are separate from each other in terms of rolls. The levels are Apprentice, Initiate, Journeyman, Master, and Grandmaster. The weapons from the D&D book don't really have much in common with the Sword Schools here afaict.

The key feature of Sword Schools and their primary method of expression is Special Attacks (may also appear as Martial Maneuver). Each school adds advantages and restrictions that can be used to modify one's special attacks and make them unique. Additionally, Advantages and Restrictions from different schools can be blended together into a single Special Attack to exemplify the character's own unique fighting style.

First, an action is chosen for the Special Attack to be part of. Any Special Attack can be part of a Standard Attack, but each school has a different action that the Special Attack can also be applied to. Similarly, each Special Attack needs a weapon to be used with it and each school has a preferred weapon that can be used with Special Attacks. These attacks do not apply to ranged weapons though. Only melee. (Ranged weapons get their own set of special tricks known as Gun Kata in the next book.) Reaching the first level in any sword school also opens access to the Universal Advantages and Restrictions which are more generic bonuses and penalties that can be used to modify an attack. Each Advantage added to a Special Attack costs a number of style points equal to the character's Martial Adept Level. Extra points can be gained through adding restrictions to the attack. Buying or improving a Special Attack costs XP, 50 for Style Point spent for Advantages before Restrictions.

As an example, let's take an Adept with Iron Heart 3, Setting Sun 1, Shadow Hand 2. This gives them an Adept level of 3 and means they have 3 Style Points to spend on the attack. First, they choose the weapon to be used and pick Unarmed from the Setting Sun school. The action for use will be a Standard Action. The Advantages for this attack are Mosquito's Bite from Shadow Hand, Hammer of the Emperor from Iron Heart and +0k1 to Damage which is a Universal Advantage. What this all means is that effects of the attack can be delayed for up to a minute and the damage from this attack is Explosive typed rather the typical Impact damage from fists as well as being able to deal more damage in general. The total cost of these Advantages is 6 Style Points. Three points of Restrictions are needed. In this case, Skill(Perception) from Iron Heart and Difficult Strike and -1k0 to the attack roll which are Universal. This makes it so a successful Perception test is needed for the attack to work, cannot be used if it was used last turn and is just a little less accurate. The total XP cost is 300 from 6 Style points in Advantages and makes an attack that can trigger its damage at a later point such that the opponent won't realize that they're already dead until it's too late. The Explosive damage is so that critical damage makes them explode.

Universal Advantages are pretty basic. Add extra die rolled or kept during either the attack or damage roll or add extra penetration, which negates armor. All of these can be added multiple times. Universal Restrictions have their negative counterparts, losing a die rolled or kept and the Penetration alternative is 0 Penetration. Additionally, there are two other Universal Restrictions. One limits use of the Special Attack once per scene (think a final attack) and the other prevents its use if it was used last round.

A lot of combat concepts are terms are introduced in this section well before Combat is really explained beyond the barest depth. Since each school also includes an alternate combat action one can use for their Special attack, I'll briefly explain them with a slightly more expanded explanation when the combat section rolls around.

Sword Schools
Every school has a few things in common. Each school has a favored weapon type and an action that they can use their Special Attacks with besides the standard Attack. Each school has a favored skill that can be chosen as part of the attack to be checked against a target's Static Defense at the third level. At the fourth level, a benefit is gained that's now added to the character

Desert Wind
Speed and mobility are the hallmarks of the Desert Wind discipline. Desert Wind maneuvers often involve blinding displays of sword skill, quick charges, and agile footwork. Some maneuvers from this school, however, draw power from the supernatural essence of the desert and allow and adept practitioner to scour his foes with fire.
The key skill for Desert Wind is Athletics. The odd weapons of the Syrneth are the traditional weapons used in Desert Wind special attacks. It's thought that the Syrneth were the first to use this fighting style, which isn't unlikely given the supernatural effects of the school.


Syrneth weapons are ancient weapons from long ago. These melee options include the Scythe, the Grimscythe (the Scythe's bigger brother from Exalted) and the Gyrspike from D&D which is a double weapon with a sword on one end and a flail on the other. The action type that the Desert Wind Sword School can also utilize is the Called Shot which lets the player avoid randomly rolling a hit location on an attack at a reduced accuracy roll. Called Shots are only of marginal benefit as far as I can tell though. Further up the path is a Restriction that sets the weapon damage to 0, even if it hits but also allows Dazzling opponents on a successful hit. Later Special Attacks can deal Energy damage (fire, lasers, electricity, radiation) or allow the user to teleport 5m before or after the attack. The boon a Master gains is not having to go in a straight line when Charging (though Charging as an alternate action type belongs to another Sword School). The Grandmaster technique is called Holocaust Cloak and basically means you can emit radiation (actually, it's energy damage so it's just as likely an aura of fire or generic burning) all around you as part of an attack and goes with the user as they move.


Yeah, I don't know wtf. It's from the Forgotten Realms afaict

Devoted Spirit
Faith, piety, and purity of body and mind are the wellsprings of a warrior's true power. Devoted Spirit attacks harness a practitioner's spiritual strength and her zealous devotion to a cause. This Sword School includes energies baneful to a creature opposed to the Martial Adept's cause, abilities that can keep an adept fighting long after a mundane warrior would fall to his enemies, and strikes infused with vengeful, fanatical power.
Medicae is the key skill for Devoted Spirit. Devoted Spirit adepts are trained in the use of the Flail, an difficult and awkward weapon for most to use. It has been suggested that the original masters of the Devoted Spirit school were taught by their gods themselves.


While the blurb says the school contains energies baneful to a creature opposed to the Adept's cause (sounds like Bane or Smite Evil or other Cleric/Paladin things), there's not really anything of the specific sort in this school. The Grandmaster Advantage gives bonus damage equal to Devotion which is typically better than +1k1 (the equivalent in universal advantages) on average. No idea if it's better than +4k0, but the Advantage only takes effect if it hits the Head or Gizzards which makes it a 1 in 5 chance of hitting without a called shot. Devoted Spirit Adepts also get Ox Body Technique which is at least a 20% boost in Max HP (it's +4 with the max being 20 before Class completion bonuses and feats or max characteristic boosts). Restrictions gained include making the favored skill check or a Devotion check before attacking. Advantages gained include being able to heal adjacent allies as part of the attack and give them boosts to static defense. Additionally, there's an advantage that, when a die explodes, give two dice rather than one (no idea about how good that is too).

Diamond Mind
True quickness lies in the mind, not the body. A student of the Diamond Mind discipline seeks to hone his perceptions and discipline his thoughts so that he can act even in slivers of time so narrow that others cannot even perceive them. A corollary of this speed of thought and action is the concept of the mind as the battleground. An enemy defeated in his mind must inevitably be defeated in the realm of the physical as well.
Scrutiny, the ability to read another person, is the key skill for Diamond Mind. Martial Adepts focused in Diamond mind use Fencing weapons, light and fast enough to move as fast as their user. It's said that this Sword School was developed by a Mortal as a means to defend himself from and even defeat the Exalted.


This is basically the classic duelist's style with a slight emphasis on Feints and countering opponent's attacks. The allowed weapon type are fencing weapons which include fencing sabers (which katanas also fall under) and cavalry sabers. Feints are basically an opposed weaponry test that, upon a success, makes it so that the opponent cannot Parry or Dodge against the next Standard attack. Adepts in this school can eventually get a benefit that allows them to use some other action to exploit the opponent's lack of defense after a Feint such as an All-Out Attack or a Called Shot. Restrictions gained include only being able to use this as part of an Opportunity Attack or a Delayed Action or a Scrutiny check before the attack. Advantages gained include getting a free raise on Parry attempts for the next turn (a +5 to the result essentially), getting an extra weapon attack (appropriately called Flurry of Blows), being able to disarm an opponent as part of the attack, and as the capstone, force the hit opponent to lose Resource points, which appropriately fulfills the last line about being used to fight Exalted who only have a Resource Point pool.


Also included under fencing weapons, the Phase sword. Commonly used by the Settlers of C'tan

Iron Heart
Absolute mastery of the sword is the goal of the Iron Heart discipline. Through unending practice and study, the Iron Heart adept achieves superhuman skill with her weapons. Iron Heart Special Attacks are demonstrations of uncanny martial skill - weaving patterns of steel that dizzy, confuse, and ultimately kill with no recourse.
The key skill for Iron Heart is Perception, the ability to see the flaws in your own stance and the defenses of others. Iron Heart weapons are Ordinary weapons, and like the school itself, what seem like ordinary attacks are polished and brought to supernatural levels.


The school is probably the more typical Fighter school as Ordinary weapons basically include swords, maces, clubs, and axes, but not things like knives or spears. It also includes Daiklaves which are just fancier swords from Exalted and Power Swords from 40K which may as well be Lightsabers with a solid core. In theme with Perception being their key skill, their alternate Special Attack action is Aim which is basically taking a half or full action to get an extra die or two to roll on attacks. Ostensibly, it's not a bad idea to get an extra die to a roll every attack since the combat system gives two non-identical half actions and a regular attack counts as a half action. The alternatives include disarming an opponent or making a Feint which might are probably better uses of actions while remaining in melee. As for restrictions, taking a -10 to static defense after is the unique one. The boon gained at 4th level is opponents getting -1k0 to and reactions to attacks (these are basically Dodge and Parry for the most part). Advantages include making the attack always deal at least 1HP of damage if it hits, making Parries against you or by you by weapons without energy fields have a 30% of destroying the weapon (could alternatively be flavored such that the attack is just so powerful it sunders the other weapon), or Hammer of the Emperor which makes attacks deal Explosive damage (again, this mostly concerns critical damage effects). The capstone Advantage to all of this just makes it so the Special Attacks can't be dodged or parried. It costs just enough to make a Special Attack with just that so that any melee attacks with the chosen weapon will always only be resisted by Static Defense and Armor and never need worry about dodging or parrying.

Setting Sun
Strength is an illusion. Adherents of the Setting Sun philosophy understand that no warrior can hope to be stronger, quicker, and more skillful than every one of her enemies. Therefore, this discipline includes Advantages that use an adversary's power and speed against him. Setting Sun maneuvers include weakening blows and the ability to stun and distract an opponent. The highest forms of the Setting Sun allow you to turn an opponent's weapon against him, turning the strongest opponent into the most vulnerable.
Deceive is the key skill for the Setting Sun discipline, the ability to trick and outmaneuver an opponent with fast hands. The weapons of the Setting Sun school are no weapons at all, using unarmed strikes to damage an opponent. It's said that the Setting Sun school was founded by halflings who were facing extermination and oppression.


This is basically the Monk fighting style and can also be considered the pacifist's fighting style. The preferred weapon is Unarmed That doesn't mean that they're using only their fists as Brass Knuckles, Caestuses and the very special Power Fist are weapons for hand-to-hand combatants. Their Special Attack alternative is Fighting Defensively which takes a die off of the attack for a die for parrying or dodging. Mastery gives a free raise to Initiative which is essentially a +5 to a 1d10 roll and nearly guarantees going ahead of most allies and opponents and is basically the best way to boost initiative in the game. Restrictions available include only being able to use the Special Attack as part of a Grapple or requiring a Deceive check. The available Advantages include being able to deliver points of fatigue to the opponent, even without damage (normally, a point of fatigue is dealt with unarmed attacks that have dealt damage and anyone with fatigue above their Constitution is knocked out), being damaged by the attack takes a one die penalty to all rolls for a turn and finally being able to force a Con test on an opponent on a hit or else be stunned for a turn. The capstone basically allows the use of taking the opponent's weapon damage and using it instead of the normal one. Probably one of my favorite Sword Schools since it's basically all about KOing an opponent as quickly as possible.


The weapon entry refers to the 40K version, but a Fallout version is fine too

Shadow Hand
Never show an adversary what he expects to see. The Shadow Hand discipline emphasizes deception, misdirection, and surprise. The most effective blow is one struck against an enemy who does not even know he is in danger. Because the study of the deceit as a philosophy often leads into darker practices, some Shadow Hand maneuvers employ supernatural effects such as the manipulation of shadows.
The key skill of the Shadow Hand school is Stealth, hiding your own attacks and surprising your enemy. Shadow Hand weapons are parrying weapons, small and easily-concealed weapons that can be carried almost anywhere. The original practitioners of the Shadow Hand school were assassins, using the attacks of the school to disable and kill their enemies before they even knew they were in danger.


If Setting Sun is the classic Monk school, then Shadow Hand is the Assassin's/Rogue's school. The weapon type of choice is Parrying which includes knives, katars and main gauches (parrying daggers). The alternate action is the Ready Action which involves drawing or preparing a weapon (reloading is something different). Restrictions include the Stealth skill check and only being able to use the Special Attack against a helpless or unaware opponent (so...Sneak Attack almost). Available Advantages include being able to delay the effects of the attack for up to a minute, giving the attack extra range (which is probably the only way to bypass the "use in melee only" restriction to Special Attacks, unless they were meant to be able to apply to Thrown Melee weapons as well but never got mentioned ), or making it so the attack can't be parried. The boost from Mastery gives a +2k1 bonus to attacks made with weapons drawn in the turn. The capstone isn't quite as impressive since it gives the attack a property that forces a Con save against 1 point of damage. Iron Heart at Level 2 gives a better Advantage.

Stone Dragon
The strength and endurance of the mountains epitomize the Stone Dragon discipline. The methodical and relentless application of force allows a student of this philosophy to defeat any foe. Strikes of superhuman power and manifestations of perfect, idealized force make up the Stone Dragon's Advantages.
Intimidate is the key skill for the Stone Dragon, overwhelming others with the force of your personality as well as the strength of your blows. Two Handed weapons are the most common in use among Stone Dragon adepts, as they're extremely efficient at the hurting of people. Squats, with their strong ties to the earth, were the first to develop the Stone Dragon school.


Not quite a Sword School, but probably the closest right alongside Iron Heart. It's definitely the tankiest based on the what the school has to offer. The weapons for their Special Attacks are Two-Handed weapons which include the typical Greataxes and warhammers and such, but also include the Grand Daiklaive and the Goremaul from Exalted (obviously missing is the Grand Goremaul but the Goremaul itself may be subbing in for its bigger brother). As an alternate action to their Special Attack, they can instead make it part of a Bull Rush which is basically meant to shove the opponent in one direction. It's basically like the Pathfinder or 3.5 version in that it's a weak sort of battlefield control thing. At the very least, this school adds a few ways to make that shove an actually effective control technique. They include forcing the opponent to make a Dex check after the attack or else be immobilized (the TN at base is woefully low, however) or the capstone which makes it an AOE. Other Advantages include getting extra armor for the turn or treating the opponent's resilience as two less. As for Restrictions, using the Special attack adds a level of fatigue for the user or make an Intimidate check. Finally, the permanent boon is getting an additional point of Resilience while the user's feet are firmly planted on solid earth or rock. It's a bit specific, but it's quite a good boon. A side note on Resilience: I'll explain it more in depth later, but simply put, Resilience is a damage mitigating factor. Whenever damage is received, it's divided by Resilience and the result, sans remainder, is taken as the HP lost.

Tiger Claw
Consciousness is the enemy of instinct. The Tiger Claw discipline teaches that martial superiority can be achieved by discarding the veneer of civilization, along with the higher thoughts that fetter a warrior's actions. Tiger Claw maneuvers emulate the strikes, leaps, and pounces of animals. Tiger Claw strikes are explosively powerful and variable, as wild and energetic as the adepts of the style.
The key skill of the Tiger Claw style is Acrobatics, required for the intensely physical and always-moving style. Chain weapons, with their rows of sharp teeth, are the favored weapons of the style. Tiger Claw is one of the most wide-spread styles, as many of its practitioners learn the movements from watching animals in the wild.


Where Stone Dragon is the tankiest style and Setting Sun is the more defensive style, Tiger Claw is a clear "kill, maim, burn" sort of Sword School. Their weapons are Chain weapons which means things like Chainsaws, but more particularly, the Chainsword and the Chainaxe. Definitely the school. The alternate action is All Out Attack which might be familiar to anyone who's played World of Darkness and works the same way, extra dice on the attack for no ability to defend for the turn. At Master level, this restriction for All Out Attack is lifted but with a penalty to defense. As the Sword Style is a full on offensive style, one of the Restrictions available renders the user prone if they fail the attack. For Advantages, double penetration if the hit reaches a certain threshold, some complicated thing that requires spending a Hero Point to ignore armor or any damage reduction and reducing their Resilience, and an extra roll that gives a 10% chance to halve damage dealt and a 10% chance to double it. The Grandmaster capstone is an advantage that allows dice to explode on 9s and 10s. Honestly, I can't do the math on this and while I'm sure it's better than 9-again in WoD, I'm not sure if it beats an equivalent boost from any of the Universal Advantages.


All of the weapon images I used are from outside of the book since the weapon pictures in the book are either bland or terrible

White Raven
No warrior fights in isolation. Cooperation, teamwork, and leadership can give two warriors the strength of five, and five warriors the strength of twenty. The student of the White Raven masters techniques that combine the strengths of two or more allies against a common foe. Shouts and battlecries to draw the attention of enemies and get them into the perfect spot to finish them off.
Command is the key skill of the White Raven school, giving orders to others and knowing which orders are the right ones to give. The White raven school focuses on Cavalry weapons, which are good for those on the move or charging. The White Raven school originally developed among the commanders of infantry groups on the battlefield.


The Knight school. Cavalry weapons are the spears and spear-like weapons and Charge is an action that combines a Move and an attack or a grapple attempt with the caveat that it's in a straight line but gives an accuracy bonus. How straightline movement is tracked in a system that doesn't talk about grids without handwaving, I don't know. In any case, a number of the Advantages accessed by this school is intended to help allies. One advantage gives allies extra accuracy when hitting the same enemy while another prevents the hit opponent from dodging or parrying until their next turn. The Grandmaster Advantage makes the hit opponent trigger an opportunity attack. Since opportunity attacks are melee only, it's mostly just enabling another round of dogpiling outside of their normal actions. The other Advantage that's opened up makes the user not provoke Opportunity attacks from opponents if a movement is part of their action (i.e. Charge) or they move after the attack. As for new Restrictions, besides the token skill check for Command, the new restriction only allows the attack to be used if the target moved since the user's last turn. There's presumably a Bull Rush synergy in there somewhere. The last boon is the permanent one at Master and give opponents an accuracy penalty against your allies when they're in melee range of you. A vaguely Tanky ability that penalizes opponents for attacking allies which is cool.

And that's all of the Sword Schools!

Next: The most meh chapter - Backgrounds

Xelkelvos fucked around with this message at 13:00 on Aug 19, 2015

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Something to consider for level caps is that at leas tin 2nd edition it was less a hard cap and more a signal that your levels would cost double experience points from there on out.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Terrible Opinions posted:

Something to consider for level caps is that at leas tin 2nd edition it was less a hard cap and more a signal that your levels would cost double experience points from there on out.

Nah, it was a hard cap by the rules that were there, black on white. But the gray boxes with optional rules suggested that demihuman levels simply have a cost multiplier above their limit, or that demihuman level limits be extended for high primary stats, that sort of thing.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



gradenko_2000 posted:

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

If we consider that a human can rise through the ranks of and achieve double-digit levels within 20 or even 40 years and apply the same to the other races, then the logical conclusion is that every demihuman that doesn't die in the attempt should be able to reach the same in fraction of their lifespans, which means the world might well be dominated by hundreds of level 20+ Elves.

It's essentially an artifact of 70s/80s-style game design where you had to think about the "milieu". Only 1% of something of all rolled-up characters are ever going to be good enough to be a Paladin, but that's okay, because in the in-game world, that's how rare they should have been.

Or to hearken back to HarnWorld or Stormbringer where you roll a d100 for your race/profession or whatever and it's going to make you a shitfarming human 90% of the time because that's how that particular world works as.

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.

By that logic nearly every elf you meet or play should be at their level cap already, right?

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Xelkelvos posted:

Part 9: The Book Chapter of 9 Sword Schools

And now we get to the part I just unabashedly adore from this book. Cause yeah, it's not really balanced between the styles and is super weird and complicated to actually use, but conceptually I just adore the whole thing for being a system to let martial characters be awesome and unique. In particular I love that it is designed to mix and match the styles so you don't have to face the question of, "but what if I want to play a super controlled and capable fighter who's also just cold and ruthless enough to use sneak attacks instead of honorable combat when possible?" Instead of having to contemplate making a whole new style because of slight differences you just make a character with levels in Diamond Mind and also some in Shadow Hand, then make an attack or two that uses drawing your weapon as an action. Did you start up a game only to find that you and another guy both picked the same School and now you're despairing over your special snowflakeness? Do a quick rewrite to/later on take levels in another school they're not interested in and made use it's weapon type instead.

As with most things I've never played it and I'm sure it doesn't work as I'd like, but drat if I don't adore it as a concept.

theironjef posted:

By that logic nearly every elf you meet or play should be at their level cap already, right?

The other problem is it ignores the much more simple answer that adventurers/people that get levels in classes are unique and exceptional individuals.

LornMarkus fucked around with this message at 14:50 on Aug 19, 2015

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




gradenko_2000 posted:

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

If we consider that a human can rise through the ranks of and achieve double-digit levels within 20 or even 40 years and apply the same to the other races, then the logical conclusion is that every demihuman that doesn't die in the attempt should be able to reach the same in fraction of their lifespans, which means the world might well be dominated by hundreds of level 20+ Elves.

It's essentially an artifact of 70s/80s-style game design where you had to think about the "milieu". Only 1% of something of all rolled-up characters are ever going to be good enough to be a Paladin, but that's okay, because in the in-game world, that's how rare they should have been.

Or to hearken back to HarnWorld or Stormbringer where you roll a d100 for your race/profession or whatever and it's going to make you a shitfarming human 90% of the time because that's how that particular world works as.

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.
Not only that, but it outright discouraged you from playing them, if you anticipated the campaign would go past Level X. So the party wouldn't be all elves and dwarves.

Other games tried to enforce the default, Tolkienesque milieu by making you roll for your race.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Not only that, but it outright discouraged you from playing them, if you anticipated the campaign would go past Level X. So the party wouldn't be all elves and dwarves.

Other games tried to enforce the default, Tolkienesque milieu by making you roll for your race.

Right, I think we've seen that model just on the show maybe three times now? It's hilarious how much detail they lavish on a race that you have a 1 in 100 chance of being in some cases.

Overall level cap just seems like raw unchecked passive aggression codified into rules. From both sides, too. Like you can see one of Gary's smug players saying "But Elfion is 300 years old Gary, he should already be a level 15 wizard" and Gary grimly saying "Well it is assumed that elves cannot rise about 11th level in the arts of magic-use." Then some of that bullshit war spilled over into the half-orc, the most passive aggressive one of all (since their caps are the worst AND they are shorter-lived than humans). Level 4 cap for half-orc clerics is basically Gary being too chickenshit some day to just say "No half-orc clerics."

theironjef fucked around with this message at 15:26 on Aug 19, 2015

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

LornMarkus posted:

The other problem is it ignores the much more simple answer that adventurers/people that get levels in classes are unique and exceptional individuals.

Bu-but you don't get to choose to be awesome in real life! Muh verisimilitude!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Speaking of which, I understand now how weary you got of reviewing D&D heartbreakers. I find them fascinating in principle, but it must wear you down to read the same poo poo over and over. I was listening to the relevant episodes and I realized I was getting Darkurthe, Fifth Cycle, and Fantasy Imperium mixed up. Which one was the worst? For my money, it's gotta be Fantasy Imperium. Not only is everything insanely over-detailed, the author was trying to emulate some vague and nonspecific medieval Europe, including social dynamics and religion, which leads him to put his obnoxious sexism and bigoted attitude toward Islam on display.


I really wish y'all had gotten into the combat rules in your AD&D review. I want to hear what you think of ambush rules, combat segments, weapon speed, and weapon vs. armor tables. Did you ever actually play with that stuff? (I'm one of those weird people who didn't start with D&D or Palladium.)

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Speaking of which, I understand now how weary you got of reviewing D&D heartbreakers. I find them fascinating in principle, but it must wear you down to read the same poo poo over and over. I was listening to the relevant episodes and I realized I was getting Darkurthe, Fifth Cycle, and Fantasy Imperium mixed up. Which one was the worst? For my money, it's gotta be Fantasy Imperium. Not only is everything insanely over-detailed, the author was trying to emulate some vague and nonspecific medieval Europe, including social dynamics and religion, which leads him to put his obnoxious sexism and bigoted attitude toward Islam on display.


I really wish y'all had gotten into the combat rules in your AD&D review. I want to hear what you think of ambush rules, combat segments, weapon speed, and weapon vs. armor tables. Did you ever actually play with that stuff? (I'm one of those weird people who didn't start with D&D or Palladium.)

Yeah, we probably needed to split AD&D into two episodes instead of just marathoning for 90 minutes. Of those three Fantasy Imperium is the only one to leave a mark in my brain, the other two have slipped off into wherever I store the stat generation for Heaven & Earth and the available races in Raven Star. It felt like it had been written for a class or something. On the other hand when you keep reading crap RPGs on purpose over and over for years, you start to appreciate the really bad ones just because they tend to be garbage in new and innovative ways. In Fantasy Imperium's case, I believe that was him giving up on stuff he had written in the start of the book by the time he reached the end.

You're just making me sad though, because we're starting another heartbreaker now. It's a doozy though, and we may actually need a month to read it, so it might not be the next show specifically.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


FMguru posted:

For something that is, at heart, a tactical combat simulator, AD&D 1E was amazingly incoherent for how everything fit together in combat.
Those actually make a little sense when you consider D&D's roots in things like Chainmail and Swords and Spells. All Lawful races and monsters speak Lawful so they can communicate and issue orders on the battlefield to each other (same with Chaotic and Neutral). It's a wodge to make sense of something in a minis wargame. Expanding them so that Kobolds and Beholders could discuss specific Lawful Evil points of philosophy with one another but in ways that are totally incomprehensible to Neutral Evil or Lawful Neutral monsters and characters is just loving weird.

I think this also kinda makes sense in Basic D&D, where there was only Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic, with player races being pretty much all Lawful while the evil monster races are Chaotic. It's like another Common tongue that is a bit less common.

gradenko_2000 posted:

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

If we consider that a human can rise through the ranks of and achieve double-digit levels within 20 or even 40 years and apply the same to the other races, then the logical conclusion is that every demihuman that doesn't die in the attempt should be able to reach the same in fraction of their lifespans, which means the world might well be dominated by hundreds of level 20+ Elves.

It's essentially an artifact of 70s/80s-style game design where you had to think about the "milieu". Only 1% of something of all rolled-up characters are ever going to be good enough to be a Paladin, but that's okay, because in the in-game world, that's how rare they should have been.

Or to hearken back to HarnWorld or Stormbringer where you roll a d100 for your race/profession or whatever and it's going to make you a shitfarming human 90% of the time because that's how that particular world works as.

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.

But by that logic, old human dudes are the most dangerous guys around, and you could argue with your GM that your 60+ year old Wizard should totally start out with level 24.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Aug 19, 2015

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

I think this also kinda makes sense in Basic D&D, where there was only Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic, with player races being pretty much all Lawful while the evil monster races are Chaotic. It's like another Common tongue that is a bit less common.

It's like Common except it's rude to speak it in public. I figure that was Gygax trying to make sure that players didn't just use alignment languages to act as a sort of cosmologically justified inquisition, like they make a party of all three good alignments, hire NPCs from the neutral alignments, and then just roam the town until they find a guy that doesn't speak any of the six languages they do, murder that guy because he's evil, and proceed to the next inn. That'd be rude.

I love that it's a huge faux pas. Leaves me picturing speaking Chaotic Good as like looking someone in the eye, waiting for them to speak, and then farting when they do, never breaking eye contact.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Lawful Goodese is those people who say "have a blessed day" so often that it's weird.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


LornMarkus posted:

And now we get to the part I just unabashedly adore from this book. Cause yeah, it's not really balanced between the styles and is super weird and complicated to actually use, but conceptually I just adore the whole thing for being a system to let martial characters be awesome and unique. In particular I love that it is designed to mix and match the styles so you don't have to face the question of, "but what if I want to play a super controlled and capable fighter who's also just cold and ruthless enough to use sneak attacks instead of honorable combat when possible?" Instead of having to contemplate making a whole new style because of slight differences you just make a character with levels in Diamond Mind and also some in Shadow Hand, then make an attack or two that uses drawing your weapon as an action. Did you start up a game only to find that you and another guy both picked the same School and now you're despairing over your special snowflakeness? Do a quick rewrite to/later on take levels in another school they're not interested in and made use it's weapon type instead.

As with most things I've never played it and I'm sure it doesn't work as I'd like, but drat if I don't adore it as a concept.


The other problem is it ignores the much more simple answer that adventurers/people that get levels in classes are unique and exceptional individuals.

It's directly the stuff from the Book of Nine Swords, though. Just with some extra 40k and attached to a joke system that works worse than even d20.

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LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Night10194 posted:

It's directly the stuff from the Book of Nine Swords, though. Just with some extra 40k and attached to a joke system that works worse than even d20.

*shrug* I never saw the Book of Nine Swords, never even heard it existed back in the days when I still accepted that 3x was the only thing anybody cared about even though I hated it. Either way, not saying DtD is good because it includes this, just that this concept is really nifty.

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